Before Vera Jimenez started giving KTLA 5 viewers their 7-day forecast, she was just a kid from Garden Grove.
“I went to Mitchell Elementary School, and then from there I went to Irvine. I was an Irvine Hawk,” she exclaimed. “Then from Irvine I went to Bolsa Grande. Matadors hats off to you!”
From Vera’s Instagram you know that she has a passion for fitness. It turns out, she was quite the teenage athlete.
“When I was in high school, I loved sports. So, I was a cross-country runner, I also played soccer,” she explained. “I was on the school newspaper and I was voted Most Spirited!”
She has fond memories of the Strawberry Festival parade and still attends to this day. Her favorite is the strawberry shortcake.
“I loved growing up in Garden Grove because it was very multicultural,” she explained. “I had kids from Vietnam that were my friends. My neighbors were the Bivens, they were a big Irish family and I actually learned how to speak English as a little girl hanging out with them.”
Vera remains super close to the Garden Grove community. Her mom still lives in the home Vera grew up in. Her siblings live about five minutes away from her as well.
When it comes to Vera’s mom, she can’t help but get choked up. She’s her “inspiration.”
“Everything that I do, I always think about her,” she said while she held back tears. “Growing up there were six of us and my dad died when I was 3 years old and my mom never remarried. She did what she could to make sure she could keep an eye on all six of us. So, part of that was working an overnight shift so that when we got home from school and when we went to school; she was there.”
“She taught us how to work hard. We didn’t have a lot of money so my mom would make us our dresses for school,” she explained. “She made all our prom dresses. She made my wedding dress. Still as an adult, working in television, she was still sewing for me. So some of the dresses I wear on T.V., my mom actually made for me.”
Vera never forgets where she comes from, and neither does her community. She was recently inducted into the Santa Ana Community College Hall of Fame.
“Santa Ana Community college is what led me to my place now at KTLA,” she explained. “I didn’t have money to go to a four-year university and as an 18-year-old I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. It was great opportunity to look at different avenues of college and careers and find one that fit for me,” Vera said.
“I am so grateful. The fact that now I’m going to be inducted into their Hall of Fame is incredible,” she added. “To me it’s, I might as well be getting an Oscar!”
My Very Own Story series will air Thursdays at 8 a.m., 12 p.m., and 5 p.m.
Track the stories online at ktla.com/mystory.